An Architect’s Renovated Home Is Rough and Refined — House Call

Name: Cara Hyde-Basso, husband, and our dog Oso
Location: Highland Park, Illinois
Size: 1,000 square feet
Years lived in: 1 year, owned

My husband and I are architects who met while living in Brooklyn. We have since moved to the Chicago area where we bought our first home, which is our first project together as designers.

The first phase was a complete gut renovation of the kitchen and opening it up to the adjoining living and dining rooms. To keep the feel of the newly combined spaces from reading too much like a kitchen, the appliances were designed to be concealed (as in the case of the custom-panel refrigerator), or were selected for their minimal appearance. The hardware selection was based on the same notion: simple linear metal pulls that align with the seams of the cabinets. A Caesarstone waterfall-edge countertop created an elegant divide.

The aesthetic is a representation of how my husband and I balance our aesthetics: he has more of an appeal to roughness and I lean more towards refinement. The charcoal brick floor selected for the kitchen is one such example: It adds texture with its surface, durability with its intended outdoor use, but is laid in a herringbone pattern that adds an element of detail and elegance. Another instance is the Japanese iron towel rack, chosen for its subtle roughness but overall minimal appearance.

The palette of soft whites, light grays, and warm wood were used to soften the space and allow it to feel airy and open. The walls were also meant to act as a neutral backdrop for my husband’s artwork he’s done in the past, another element that adds texture and color.

As the dining and living rooms remained relatively unchanged, the hardwood floors were stained a dark gray brown to add elegance and richness to the space while also tying into the new charcoal herringbone kitchen floor. A Serge Mouille chandelier was used over the dining table to tie in the modern aesthetic of the new kitchen to the surrounding spaces.

We love the open layout and calm feel of the space now that it is finished and looks forward to the next phase together of adding a second floor addition.

Thanks, Cara!

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